Toddy Cat: Orwell was not an advocate of free love — quite the contrary, in fact. And if his personal life didn’t live up to his own standards, well, who does? Orwell had high standards, and tried to live up to them, and failed, but didn’t drop his standards. Where I come from, that’s called “Christianity̶ 1;
Toddy Cat: It’s remarkable how all those lefties who were screaming that the whole “Duck Dynasty” thing was not about free speech because boycotts are all about free consumer choice have suddenly changed their tune now that they are on the receiving end. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising — for the left, it’s always about “Who, Whom?” Anyone who thinks that these people have any actual principles is mad — it’s all about winning. Almost...
Alrenous: “Orwell was simply expressing the national character better than we ourselves could have done.” Including elite character, who were all like, “Oh yeah, that’s exactly where we’re going with this.”
Bruce: Europe already had a lot of bulk trade on rivers — not as much as China’s, no Grand Canal, but lots. From 1000 they were eating the fish out of the Baltic and heading farther and farther across the North Atlantic. Bulk trade that could handle the North Atlantic was capable of travelling around the world — there’s a comment in John McPhee’s Looking for a Ship. According to Dorothy Dunnett’s sources, the Saracens managed a big slave raid on Iceland in the early...
Dan Kurt: Reminds me of my college course Western Civilization circa 1959-60. The professor let this Pearl out at some point and I have never forgotten his words on why the West broke out to dominate the world: During the so called Dark ages there were three developments embraced by the Western Europeans: 1) Horse Collar, 2) Crop Rotation, and 3) Cost Accounting. All followed from those developments. I could elaborate, but he was quite convincing.
Bob Sykes: This is probably why Russia, with all its resources, is perennially impoverished.
Aretae: I’d go a bit past, but his line on lecture rocks.
Mike in Boston: Sorry to make this comments thread a one-person meeting of the Giancarlo Rota fan club, but his ten lessons of an MIT education have a lot to teach about what makes for a good scientific education.
Mike in Boston: Mid-semester, the lecturer for my undergraduate complex variables class was taken ill, and Rota was tapped to fill in at the last minute. Completely run-of-the-mill stuff, but he got — and deserved — a standing ovation. He was one of a kind, and taken from us too young; God rest his soul.